Financial sector increases cooperation with schools and universities 14 Jan 2020 8:38 Laura Sulkava Tarja Kallonen is the creator of Financial Academy and FIT training. Photo: Markku Pajunen The Finnish financial sector is boosting its competitiveness through research and competence development. Cooperation with social partners is providing insight into the future of work in financial services, and collaboration with educational institutions is helping develop education and training to better match the changing needs of working life. Three years ago, the sector launched a cooperation network called Financial Academy, bringing together sector employers and the schools and universities that educate the sector’s current and future employees. The idea for this network first arose when the results of the Healthy Financial Sector project showed that the sector needed to adapt to the rapidly changing working life. The results also indicated that the best way to support competence was to establish new kinds of cooperation between businesses and educational institutions.“The aim of the Healthy Financial Sector project was to promote dialogue and strengthen the social partners’ shared vision of the future”, explains Tarja Kallonen, head of financial work and competence at Finance Finland (FFI). High competence and consideration of the needs of working life in education and training are among the key factors for future success.The Financial Academy develops education, improves employer image, produces learning materials and offers an environment for student projects. The sector maintains a job portal – Finanssialalle.fi – which in addition to job postings, contains a large amount of study materials that can be used for free.FIT training for teachersThe Financial Academy coordinates FIT training that immerses teachers in everyday working life in the sector. The training period varies from a single day to eight weeks. Haaga-Helia student counsellor Anu Järvinen had her FIT training period at Danske Bank, and says she now has better understanding of what a student’s duties will involve if they choose a career in banking.“It was interesting to step into a real working environment and have a concrete view of how things are organised and done”, Järvinen sums up and adds: “I was pleased to find the contents of our courses are indeed spot on!”“Companies have been very receptive and welcoming to FIT trainees, and feedback has been positive”, Kallonen says with delight. Dozens of new teachers will be starting their training periods at Finnish financial sector companies again in early 2020. The article was originally published in Finnish on 22 November 2019 in Talouselämä's "Tekoja Suomesta" supplement produced by GSD Nordic.